Bears gain $23 million in cap space to make future moves
Mack was one of the players that got their salary converted into a signing bonus (Quinn Harris - USA Today Sports)

Bears gain $23 million in cap space to make future moves

by - Senior Writer -

The Bears are certainly an interesting franchise right now as they find themselves in a challenging position. On the positive side, Chicago has made the playoffs two of the past three seasons despite posting back-to-back 8-8 campaigns. They have also done this without consistent QB play, as that continues to hamper this team.

The negative side of things happens to be the financial side, where the Bears are uptight against a decreased salary cap. To bring in a better QB or look to add weapons around this team, Chicago needs to find a way to clear up some money, or things will be tough. With just 24 hours until the official start of free agency begins, the Bears have gotten that memo as they have made some internal moves to set themselves up for the future.

Knowing that this team had a few holes to fill, Chicago wanted to focus on difference makers from last season before worrying about the rest of their roster. By tagging Allen Robinson and resigning Mario Edwards, not only does Chicago retain their best offensive weapon but brings back one of the more surprising players on defense. You add in Cairo Santos' resigning, and Chicago locked up a kicker who put together the best season since the Robbie Gould days.

Now it appears as if the Bears are setting themselves up to add more firepower as they suddenly cleared 23 million dollars in cap space. No, that doesn't mean that ownership miraculously handed the team 23 million dollars, but instead, Ryan Pace and Co. found ways to restructure core players to help this team. Guys like Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Cody Whitehair are significant pieces to this team, but they also demand some of the highest salaries. They were the first ones on the list in terms of restructuring, and by doing that, Chicago has now given themselves 23 million dollars in cap space to add to this roster.

With teams on the verge of heading into free agent week, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see the Bears restructure a few more deals to give them as much financial flexibility as possible. This is the time of year when the free-agent period is extremely active, so it is better to get under the cap now and worry about the rest later. Will Chicago have to make some adjustments throughout the season? Of course, but it is certainly doable.

Take a moment to think about this for a minute. Should Chicago keep most of their core players and free up money in the process, it puts them in a better position to take on a contract like Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Chicago knows they need to be better at the QB position and know it will take a lot to get a deal done.

Essentially, Chicago is risking their overall future by trading for Wilson or Watson, so they need to make sure it is the right move. The less cap space they have now, the less help it gives them for the future, which is why these restructurings are so significant. The more money they can save now, the better position they are in to get a better QB and add talent around him that can lead to a bright future.

Given what fans continuously see from this defense, I think it is safe to say that Chicago is realistically one or two playmakers away from being an elite team. The QB is the most important of those positions as Chicago hasn't had a franchise QB since Jay Cuttler, and yet they still have been competitive of late.

I would take this Bears defense all day long over anyone else in this division. However, the lack of QB play is what is holding them back. Clear as much money as you can now, get Wilson or Watson, fill out the rest of your roster with the funds you have left and let your play do the talking. Chicago will not only be better for it this season but will be better for it in the long run.

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